Clear disclosure in your financial documents: know your rights

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Your right to clear and simple information about financial products and services

By law, federally regulated financial institutions must provide you with information in a manner, and using language, that is clear, simple, and not misleading. They must do so in writing, unless otherwise indicated.

This applies to disclosure documents such as application forms or agreements for:

  • mortgages, loans, lines of credit, credit cards 
  • optional products or services like loan insurance

For banks, including authorized foreign banks and federal credit unions (all referred to as “banks”), this also applies to disclosure documents for all other products and services they may offer or sell to you, for example, a savings account.

All federally regulated financial institutions must provide information in information boxes. Specific requirements depend on the type of financial institution you’re dealing with. 

Information disclosed by banks

The information that banks must provide in an application form or before entering into an agreement, must be in a prominently displayed information box.

Banks must set out the required information that’s not in an application form or part of the agreement, at the beginning of the statement in a separate document. This could be on paper or electronically (if you consent to receive information this way).

Information disclosed by federally regulated financial institutions other than banks

The information that federally regulated financial institutions other than banks must provide in an application or agreement, must be:

  • in a consolidated manner in a single location
  • in an information box at the beginning of the agreement or application 

They must provide the required information that’s not in the application or agreement:

  • before you enter into the agreement or at the same time you receive your agreement or application 
  • in an information box presented at the beginning of a separate disclosure statement

What an information box should look like

Specific requirements depend on the type of institution you’re dealing with.

See an example for:

Banks’ use of plain language in mortgage documents

Banks, members of the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA), have agreed to expand the use of plain language in mortgage documents. 

Learn more about the Plain Language Mortgage Documents CBA Commitment (PDF).

When these rights apply to you

These rights apply when you’re dealing with a federally regulated financial institution like a bank or federal credit union.

Find out if your financial institution is federally regulated

Learn more about how your banking rights are protected.

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